Robin 'Roblimo' Miller robin at
Thu Oct 24 18:10:20 UTC 2002

>Lets deal with this one at a time.  My first question is this-who does the
>code belong to once it is GPL'ed?  What entity, person, group, troll,
>whoever owns the code?
If I buy a GPL program, I own it. It is mine. I can install it on any 
computer I own. I can also sell you a copy if you're willing to pay for 
it, as long as the original authors get credited correctly and I pass 
the source code to you as part of the deal.

Or I can give you that program for free. If you want to bring your 
computer to Elkridge, Maryland, I will happily install Mandrake Linux on 
it for you -- either free or for a fee, depending on what deal you and I 
make. While you're here, maybe you'll want to buy a 1995 Chevrolet 
Cavalier I own and I'm thinking about selling.

I own the car. I own my copy of Mandrake Linux. I can do whatever I want 
with them -- and manuals are included with both.

But somewhere on a shelf around here there is an old Windows 98 CD 
gathering dust, and if I sell or give it to you, I am breaking the 
license agreement under which it was distributed.

Note that I say "distributed," not sold.

As far as I'm concerned, if I OWN something I should be free to SELL it, 
and most proprietary software licenses prohibit sale of used programs. 
Chevrolet can't stop me from reselling my Chevrolet car, and if you buy 
a copy of my book (came out last week), and later decide to sell that 
copy used, you're free to do so.

Do you own all the software on your computer? I own all the software on 
mine. :)

- Robin "Roblimo" Miller
   Editor in Chief, OSDN
   (, Slashdot,
   freshmeat, and other
   Open Source Web sites)
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